26 October 2011
Tensions between Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands have heightened since 19 October when 24 soldiers were killed by the Kurdish separatist movement PKK in southeast Turkey. During a demonstration against the PKK in Amsterdam protestors attempted to force entry to a Kurdish cultural center holding a memorial for victims of the recent earthquake; grafitti and an arson attempt have targeted a Turkish mosque in Arnhem. In response to messages circulating online calling Turks to come to Amsterdam to protest, Turkish and Kurdish organizations as well as the municipality and the police published a press release against demonstrations, for fear of possible riots. An emergency decree banned gathering in the Museumplein, proposed location for the demonstration, from 14:00-24:00 on 26 October. On 27 October Kurdish organizations asked authorities for protection from “aggression by Turkish rioters”.
The International Muslim Organization of Toronto is one Muslim organization that has mobilized to help the people of Haiti following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. “Almost all masajids and centers participated in this project,” said Dr. Zijad Delic, National Executive Director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, one of the participating groups.
Thousands of mourners took part in an emotional funeral Mass for victims of the earthquake in the central Italian region of Abruzzo that left 290 people dead and 28,000 homeless. A representative of the Italian Muslim community, Mohamed Nour Dachan, participated in the funerals. Dachan appealed that all the mourners be “united in brotherly live,” and was met with applause. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was also in attendance of the service, which was lead by the Vatican’s second highest official, Cardinal Tascisio Bertone, and was broadcast live on national television.
Islamic Relief Italy has established operation for a camp for displaced people in the village of Onna, which was completely destroyed by the April 6th earthquake in L’Aquila. “The earthquake destroyed everything; universities, schools, hospitals and clinics which is affecting the provision of essential services. People have lost their homes and are living in tents and they desperately need more help,” said Paulo Gonzaga, Director of Islamic Relief Italy. Islamic Relief Italy began to help with distributions two days following the earthquake, providing 800 people in Montecchio with food, clothing, blankets, and hygiene kids, along with a further 1,000 in Abagno and L’Aquila. Islamic Relief is presently working with the Catholic association La Misericordie, and intends to provide further support to children affected by the natural disaster.
The director of Rome’s Grand Mosque is urging mosques across Italy to hold their Friday prayers for the victims of the devastating earthquake in central Italy, which killed at least 278 people, injured several thousand, and left around 28,000 homeless. “I am asking the imams of all of Italy’s mosques to follow our example and to organize prayers for the victims of the earthquake that has struck Abruzzo,” said Abdellah Redouane. “It is important for Muslims to show solidarity with the earthquake victims and demonstrate their wish to contribute to the greater good of society,” Redouane added.
Mosques in the southern Puglia region, Tuscany, northern Veneto, and Lombardy regions have taken up Redouane’s appeal. Italy’s Union of Islamic Communities stated that it is ready to help survivors of the earthquake, by donating blood and coordinating with aid efforts.
The president of the organization, Mohammed Nour Dachan, added that the UCOII is collecting funds for victims, and accepting donations in mosques across Italy. “Everything that will be collected at mosques in Italy will be given as charity for the victims of the quake in Abruzzo,” said Dachan. “We feel very close to the joys and pains that affect our country,” said Dachan, who is also the imam of the central Italian city of Ancona’s mosque. Dachan added that despite religious difference, all a part of a “big family” that experiences tragedy together.
The Muslim community in the central Italian region of Abruzzo is mobilizing to help the victims and those injured in the quake by donating blood at local hospitals. “We heard that hospitals needed blood and thus I am coordinating with the Muslims in the area so they can donate it, and I ask all Muslims of the area to help the victims in any way necessary,” said Mustafa Badstami, spokesman of Abruzzo’s small Muslim community.
Badstami added that while the mosque in nearby San Nicolo was not damaged, he is trying to find out if there were any Muslim casualties in other areas affected by Monday’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake. Badstami has also joined relief efforts to help victims and continue the search for survivors.
News Report, Jehangir Khattak NEW YORK – The American Muslim community is expected to raise more funds for the victims of earthquake that struck Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan on Oct. 8, than the $50 million dollars in aid pledged so far by the United States government. More than a dozen national Muslim organizations and groups have already raised $20 million in relief aid for the earthquake victims in Pakistan and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. During interviews with the Muslims Weekly, managers of these Islamic and Pakistani relief groups and community organizations sounded upbeat while claiming an overwhelming response to the huge disaster of unimaginable proportions in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir that has killed 54,197 people as of Oct. 26. As the donations of money, food, medical supplies and other needed goods continue to be made by individuals and mosques around the country, the long-term contribution from this minority group is expected to climb beyond the initial $50 million aid package offered by the U.S. government. Some Muslims are fearful of donating money to Islamic organizations which the U.S. government could investigate for terrorist connections so have contributed large sums to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mercy international and many American and United Kingdom groups. If those sums are included in the total donations, then the Muslims community’s pledges might already exceed the government’s aid package. After 9/11 American Muslims and Muslim charity organizations in the U.S. came under extreme government scrutiny and a number of leading charity organizations were closed. Such actions spurred fear among American Muslims that the government may charge unknowing donors for “funding terrorism,” according to the Council on American Islamic Relations in a research titled, “American Muslims: One Year after 9-11.” Some non-Muslim aid organizations have complained in recent days that donations for the earthquake disaster have been lower than expected, blaming the low charity in the U.S. on “donor fatigue” following relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami last year. But reports from Muslim organizations do not express concern. “We have received a very positive and encouraging response from the Pakistani community and the larger Muslim and non-Muslim community,” Salar Rizivi of the Islamic Relief, which has pledged $10 million dollars aid for the quake victims, told Muslims Weekly over telephone from Burbank, California. He said the Islamic Relief had so far allocated a total of $4 million for the relief effort. “We are receiving constant feedback from our field offices in Pakistan and are sending the relief items accordingly,” Rizvi said. Islamic Relief sent a plain load of tents, blankets, hygiene and first aid kits to Pakistan from Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 17. It intends to send more relief goods in the coming days. Last year Islamic Relief-USA raised around $14 million from predominantly Muslim donors for projects in South America, Iraq, Palestinian refugee camps, Egypt, Chechnya, Pakistan and China, etc. The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Relief that had initially pledged a million dollar relief effort has now revised its pledge. “ICNA Relief is planning to raise $10 million for short and long-term Adopt the Village Rehabilitation Works,” the organization said in a statement. ICNA Relief is sending medicines worth $1.2 million (one of the most expensive consignments to leave for Relief from USA) to the region. “Besides this consignment, we have so far dispatched medicines worth $200,000 to the disaster hit regions in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir,” said Irfan Khursheed, Director ICNA Relief. The Pakistani community organizations, Islamic Centers and mosques across the country are also receiving overwhelming response from the community. The holy month of Ramadan is one reason for the surge in donations during which Muslims give Zakat (alm) to the poor and the needy. The over a dozen Muslim organizations that have announced the $20 million donation have joined hands under the umbrella of a permanent body called the American Muslim Taskforce for Disaster Relief (AMTFDR). It sent a letter to President George W. Bush, calling for forming an ad-hoc committee to offer coordinated relief to the quake victims, according to the U.S. Department of State’s information bureau. “The AMTFDR pledge effort is a cooperative attempt by the American Muslim community to provide relief in the most efficient and most abundant manner possible for the brothers and sisters of humanity that have suffered as the result of the significant earthquake in South Asia,” Ahmed Younis, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told a press conference while announcing the donation in Washington.